Fear is Hadassah’s constant companion. Hadassah, a young Jewish girl living in the first century, is a fictional character in Francine Rivers’ book A Voice in the Wind. After Hadassah becomes a slave in a Roman household, she fears persecution for her faith in Christ. She knows that Christians are despised, and many are sent to their execution or thrown to the lions in the arena. Will she have the courage to stand for the truth when she is tested?
When her worst fear becomes reality, her mistress and other Roman officials who hate Christianity confront her. She has two choices: recant her faith in Christ or be taken to the arena. Then, as she proclaims Jesus as the Christ, her fear falls away and she becomes bold even in the face of death.
The Bible reminds us that sometimes we will suffer for doing what is right—whether for sharing the gospel or for living godly lives that are against today’s values. We are told not to be frightened (1 Peter 3:14), but to “revere Christ as Lord” in our hearts (v. 15). Hadassah’s main battle took place in her heart. When she finally made up her mind to choose Jesus, she found the courage to be faithful.
When we make the decision to honor Christ, He will help us to be bold and to overcome our fears in the midst of opposition.
Father, give me boldness to stand firm in difficult times.
Let us be bold as we witness for God.
Writing to believers who were being persecuted because of their faith, Peter encouraged them not to be afraid but to remain faithful and to “revere Christ as Lord” (1 Peter 3:14–15). Peter was speaking from his own painful experiences. After Jesus was arrested, onlookers accused Peter of being Christ’s disciple, but out of fear he denied knowing Christ (Luke 22:54–62).
The coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, however, changed and empowered Peter to be a fearless witness (Acts 2:14). When Peter was imprisoned for preaching in the temple courts (4:3), he was “filled with the Holy Spirit” and boldly preached Christ to them (vv. 8–12). Seeing the courage of Peter, his persecutors concluded he “had been with Jesus” (v. 13). Refusing to be intimidated by threats of punishment (v. 18), the believers resolved to honor Christ and were empowered to speak the Word boldly (v. 31).
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would empower us to be His witnesses (1:8) and help us to speak for Him.
How has the Holy Spirit emboldened and empowered you to witness for Jesus?